Czech Parliament defers ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

At an  extraordinary meeting of the Parliament of the Czech Republic on Tuesday, 9 December, it was decided to defer the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty at least until 3 February 2009.

This decision was taken at the initiative of the Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek, leader of the ODS (Civic Democrat) party who proposed the prioritisation of the approval of the US missile defence systems above Lisbon in the 2009 parliamentary agenda. 

Mirek Topolanek survived a party leadership contest at the weekend and, as a consequence, the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, resigned from the party.

The official reason given for the postponement of the vote on the Lisbon Treaty was Mirek Topolanek's claim that the treaty still needed to be examined by a number of parliamentary committees and that he needed to discuss the treaty and other aspects of cross-party cooperation with the leader of the Czech opposition. 

More plausibly, he has bought time to unify the warring factions of his own party, following the divisive weekend meeting.

Public  opinion in the Czech Republic is opposed to the placement of the US missile system in the Czech Republic.